Welcoming once again the progress achieved in Kosovo, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his expectation that the upcoming elections to be held on November 3 will “uphold the highest democratic standards and show full respect for the diversity of the population’s views.” Mr. Ban also called on all parties concerned to show determination and “ensure inclusive elections, free of intimidation and violence.” In a written statement issued in New York, the UN chief said he “firmly believes that free and fair elections this Sunday will constitute a milestone in the strengthening of peace and security in Kosovo.” “The Secretary-General strongly encourages the widest possible participation,” the UN statement reads.
Elections in Kosovo this Sunday are called the key one by experts. UN said, Mr. Ban himself followed all the important preparations for the Kosovo municipal elections.
The elections will be closely watched in particularly for the turnout of its minority Serb population. It is also said that the November 3rd election is a vital step in Serbia's bid to move significantly forward the European Union.
At the same time recognition of Kosovo as an independent state which is still bitterly opposed by the authorities in Belgrade, remains the main stumbling block in Serbia's membership process in the EU. Out of 28 EU member states only Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Romania and Spain did not recognize the Republic of Kosovo.
Turkey was the first to recognize the state independence of Kosovo declared in February, 2008. Over 100 UN member states recognized Kosovo so far.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only state from former Yugoslavia who still did not recognize Kosovo because of political blockade by Bosnian Serbs within the Bosnian state institutions when it comes to that issue.
There are some 1.7 million people of Kosovo who are eligible to vote in the elections for deputies and mayors of 36 Kosovo municipalities. More than 100,000 Serbs are inhabitants of Kosovo, with some 40,000 in the north.
The north region around city of Kosovska Mitrovica has maintained a certain control of institutions with the financial and political support from Belgrade for the long period of time. Kosovo authorities repeatedly called for dismantling of the illegal parallel political structures of the Kosovo’s Serbs at the north.
Although Serbia still officially rejects Kosovo's state independence under the influence of EU Belgrade has encouraged the minority Serb community to vote in Sunday's elections.
Serbia moved forward with its candidacy to join EU only following an EU-brokered deal in April 2013 with Kosovo. Normalization of the relationship with Pristina is the key precondition for Belgrade to begin membership talks with Brussels.
There were five rounds of elections between 2000 and 2007 in Kosovo helped organized by OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). For the first time in 2008, the Kosovo institutions assumed responsibility for the management of elections.
In 2010, the OSCE Mission helped set up the Working Group on Elections for giving technical advice on electoral issues to the Assembly of Kosovo.